The true story of a 16 year old (Robin Lee Graham, played by (Joseph Bottoms) who sailed alone around the world in a 23 foot sloop named "The Dove". On his journey he meets and falls in love with a young woman (Patti Ratteree, played by Deborah Raffin) who is also traveling around the world.
Director Charles Jarrott had just come off a huge success with Lost Horizon. The screenplay was based on Graham's novel, Dove, co-written with Derek Gill. Gregory Peck was the producer and Peter S. Beagle the screenwriter who would later write the animated version of Lord of the Rings.
The assembly of cast and crew was a mix of great story tellers - some at the peak of their careers, others, The Dove, was the launching point of their careers. Nonetheless, what follows is an inspiring, epic tale of courage set against staggering moments of loneliness.
Having stepped out once in my life to attempt the impossible, I can honestly say it was films like the Dove that gave me the inspiration, the courage and the passion to risk everything for a rich single moment of solitude.
In my office is a signed autograph by Joseph Bottoms. I have never met him, but my daughter did and she procured the signature when he found out how much I loved the film. Joseph's brother, Timothy claimed fame when he starred in Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun. Joseph followed in his brother's footsteps, though The Dove was most likely his only and best performance on screen. Many B movies and television shows would follow, but Joseph's young face, curly hair and contagious smile was enough to make me believe.
I was 12 years old when I saw the Dove for the first time. I fell in love with Deborah Raffin. Though she too didn't star in anything memorable later in her career, a poster in my room of the Dove was satisfactory to keep me starry eyed for many years.
Some time later I became good friends with David W. King, who was a wonderful screenwriter who worked with Focus on the Families Adventure in Odyssey series and later went on to do Balto, and a number of television series and documentaries. At some point in his career, he had been a personal assistant to Deborah Raffin. I was smitten. I hoped in some way he would arrange a meeting, but it of course never happened and in 2012, Raffin died of leukemia.
The chemistry on film between Bottoms and Raffin isn't anything magical. In fact, at times it's a bit campy. But a reflection of anyone's life at the age of 16 would most likely be campy and a bit goofy. So I'm buying it and in so doing, I was and am inspired by the couples desire to live life to the fullest, no strings attached.
Born Free, The Lion In Winter, Walkabout, epic precursors of survival long before the composer of numerous bond films and Dances with Wolves would compose the Dove. John Barry creates a beautiful breath of life that sweeps across the oceans, elevating the lone sailor and his vessel into an inspiring tale of love and hope.
When Way Out West Pictures was making Take Your Dream, I decided I wanted to recreate a scene from The Dove and Barry's music. So, we filmed our main female character, running through the streets of a city to the pier where her lover was approaching. Though she didn't jump in, the piece was beautifully played out and a perfect tribute to Barry. Though the cost of licensing Barry's original piece became too costly to use, the scene remains in the movie today. A reminder of that warm summer afternoon when I slipped into the movie theater and watched a dream come true.